École-sur-Mer is proving population numbers do not matter when it comes to having success in P.E.I. School Athletic Association (PEISAA) volleyball.
Instead, pride in wearing the uniform, dedication, hard work, positive attitudes and a willingness to learn by the student-athletes at the Summerside-based French school has been the perfect recipe for success.
École-sur-Mer teams, known as the Requins (Sharks), recently won back-to-back PEISAA intermediate A championships.
“The students we have here are very dedicated to anything that they put their mind to,” said École-sur-Mer athletic director Kait Gallaway, who coaches the intermediate A girls’ volleyball team. “We are such a small school, I feel like we have a lot of very talented students who put their all into extra-curricular activities.”
What makes repeating as provincial champions more impressive is that École-sur-Mer has just a little over 40 students – female and male – in Grades 7 to 9 who are eligible for intermediate play. Both teams did have some Grade 6 players, who saw limited playing time, to provide depth and gain experience for upcoming seasons.
Christopher Daigle, who was assisted by Austin Stewart, enjoyed his first year coaching the École-sur-Mer boys’ team. He said there is a lot of school spirit and support for the school’s sports teams.
"It shows within the school because we are K (kindergarten) to Grade 12,” said Daigle. “The younger students really look up to the bigger kids.
“They know about the victories, and it is important for them that one day they will have something to aspire to. It’s a positive role-model situation we have going on here.”
In the girls’ championship match at Souris Regional High School, École-sur-Mer prevailed in a five-set thriller versus the Kensington Torchettes. Scores were 25-22, 25-23, 18-25, 20-25, 15-10.
“It was very intense,” said Gallaway. “On the way to the game, the girls, instead of saying, ‘I hope we win, I hope it’s easy,’ it was all about, ‘I hope they’re good because I want to have a good game, I want it to be fun'."
In the deciding fifth set, École-sur-Mer built a 10-5 lead, but Kensington closed the gap to one point at 11-10. A four-point service rotation by École-sur-Mer’s Emma McInnis clinched the title.
Jillian Caissie (École-sur-Mer) and Jaden Companion (Kensington) were the players of the match.
Immanuel Christian defeated Morell 3-1 (14-25, 25-23, 25-12, 25-17) to win the bronze medal.
In the boys’ gold-medal match at Summerside Intermediate School, École-sur-Mer defeated the Englewood Bulldogs 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-15, 25-17).
In the fourth set, Landon’s MacKinnon’s five-point service rotation gave École-sur-Mer a 6-1 lead. Englewood rallied to go ahead 12-7, but a nine-point service rotation by provincial championship tournament most valuable player Owen Jones, and a five-pointer by Alex Gaudet, staked École-sur-Mer to a 21-15 advantage en route to the title-clinching win.
Players of the match were Hunter MacLean (Englewood) and Landon MacKinnon (École-sur-Mer).
In the boys’ bronze-medal match, Hernewood defeated Belfast 3-1 (25-15, 26-28, 25-19, 25-12).
- École-sur-Mer has entered the P.E.I. School Athletic Association (PEISAA) volleyball history book.
- It was the second consecutive year École-sur-Mer swept the PEISAA intermediate A boys and girls’ volleyball championships. It marked the second time this has happened at the intermediate level. Stonepark swept the AA titles in 1988 and 1989.
- It was the 12th time that a school has swept both titles in the same year.
PEISAA intermediate A volleyball championship tournament awards:
Most Valuable Player
- Isabelle Richards, École-sur-Mer
- Rosani Sonikis, Immanuel Christian
- Maddy Affleck, Morell
- Emma McInnis, École-sur-Mer
- Haven Woodside, Kensington
- Callie Hattie, Kensington
Most Valuable Player
- Owen Jones, École-sur-Mer
- Ethan Matheson, Hernewood
- Alex Jackson, Belfast
- Grant Willis, Englewood
- Hunter MacLean, Englewood
- Samuel Collins, École-sur-Mer
Jason Simmonds is the sports reporter for the Journal Pioneer.